With four weeks to go until Scotland decides on its independence from the rest of the UK, local group Yes Bute invited the chair of Yes Scotland’s advisory board, Dennis Canavan, to speak at Rothesay Pavilion on Wednesday evening.
In an introduction given by Mrs Isobel Strong, who chaired the evening’s meeting, she said to Mr Canavan: “You said that every city, town, village, street, home and workplace should be part of the campaign, and this is an example of this tonight. This is a small place, and we’re really pleased that someone of your credibility, stature and experience can address us here tonight.”
Mr Canavan spoke briefly of his own background as a school-teacher, prior to entering into politics first as a Labour MP for West Stirlingshire. He later stood as an Independent in 1999 in the Scottish Parliament, resigning from Westminster in 2000. Mr Canavan also spoke of his conversion to being a supporter of an independent Scotland.
“I used to think that the solution to this problem of social injustice was the return of a Labour Government at Westminster, committed to raising the standards of social justice, said Mr Canavan.
“The 1979 general election saw the question put to the people ‘What kind of society is it that you want?’. ‘Do you want a greedy, grasping, ruthless selfish rat race, where only the strongest survive and the weakest go to the wall?’ ‘Or do you want a caring sharing society where people look out for their neighbour and the most help goes to those who are most in need?’
“At that particular general election, Scotland, by and large, voted for the caring, sharing society, but we were outnumbered and outvoted by people elsewhere in the UK and the result is that we got a prime minister who had the brass neck to come up to Scotland and tell the Kirk that there’s no such thing as society, and the rest is history.
“Well, history has a habit of repeating itself. Here we are again.”
* Read the full report in next week’s Buteman - on sale from Thursday, August 28.